The best bookstore in the world so far: Shakespeare and Company

I’m a bit of a self-proclaimed book nerd. One of my most important missions in life is to one day have a room with wraparound bookcases filled to the brim with all kinds of amazing books. If you ever need to get rid of me, just drop me off at a bookstore.

So when my friendly friends had class one afternoon in Paris, they casually suggested I meet them at Shakespeare and Company afterward. I think this might’ve been my favourite activity in Paris.

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At that time I didn’t know the beautiful story of how the store started up, or that it actually dates back to 1951, but I just absolutely loved the feel of it. And the fact that I wanted to own every single book in there. I loved how they don’t have a separate (smallish) section for the classics but that these are shelved in between everything else. So this is where I bought my only souvenirs from Paris – two books and a tote bag. To remember the best bookstore that I’ve ever been to.

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Things I eat part four – Paris

My trip to Paris really involved some delicious meals. My friends knew just where to go to find a meal that’s under 10 Euro but tasty at the same time. And although I’m usually someone who just walks into any place if it looks like it has a nice vibe to it, I’m glad we went on these little missions to find good food. It makes the meal more satisfying somehow.

First, there was Bob’s Kitchen, a cosy little spot where you can tuck into fresh, healthy and delicious food and freshly squeezed juices. We all had the veggie stew with roast veg, something that looked like barley, hummus, sesame seeds and other delicious things I can’t remember. This is a small stew (totally big enough for lunch) and it cost only 5.50 Euro. Even the New Yorkers working for Elle Magazine loved it. Check out their review here.

Next up was Paris’s Grande Mosque. Now I know I can see a mosque every day of the week – there are about three that are walking distance from my apartment – but this mosque is known for it’s cute little café and restaurant on the side. If you drink tea, you sit outside under the trees and watch the little birds flutter around. The mint tea is sweet, warm and yummy and the range of sweet treats is ridiculous. We didn’t know the name of any of it (and I still don’t) so here’s a picture. They were all pretty darn good.

And lastly, a baguette. You can’t go to paris and not have a baguette. This particular baguette was purchased in Montmartre. Paris hosts a very competitive baguette competition every year and the winning baguette gets served to the president at breakfast every morning. It’s quite a prestigious and sought after title. We picked out the 2011 winner, and although this particular sandwich is not the winning recipe, we bought a plain winner baguette too. Pretty good!

The people inside the Norte Dame Cathedral

Notre Dame de Paris is French for ‘Our lady of Paris‘ and it’s one of the first examples of French Gothic architecture. It’s truly a magnificent cathedral and it’s great to visit because it’s free, so you can take your time wandering along the aisles. I decided to experiment with taking pictures of the people exploring the cathedral – walking up and down, staring at the architecture and taking pictures of it. We visited in the afternoon, so the light shone beautifully through the stained glass windows. I like how the slow shutter speed made the people walking around into blurs.

paris france

paris france

paris france

paris france

paris france

paris france

Click here to check out an interesting view from the outside of the Norte Dame as well as the Eiffel Tower from the Seine River.

Things I eat part three – Paris

In Paris I happened to eat food that wasn’t necessarily typically French. But it was still pretty darn good. My friends have been staying there for a few months and they’ve either heard of, or visited, places that are either full of character and charm or places that serve delicious meals at an affordable price. I quickly had to get used to the idea that an affordable meal in Paris is around 10 Euro, but after that is was smooth sailing.

My first restaurant meal in Paris happened to be Cambodian. We went to Le Petit Cambodge and I loved the Bubon. It’s a hot and cold salad with everything from carrots and coleslaw to glass noodles, beef and nuts. Super yummy and very nutritious, compared to the things I’ve been eating the last week or so. A great find.

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That evening, we went scouring for a vibrant little tea room in Le Marais district. It’s called Le noir dans le Therier and it’s a cosy spot where people seem to sit for hours, finishing up a pot of tea while tucking into a slice of cake. The range of teas are endless, but I can say with confidence that the Darjeeling was pretty memorable. The chocolate tart speaks for itself.

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The next day I couldn’t help but stop at one of the tuck shop type of stores you find at almost every metro station. Coffee with milk was at the order of the day and I learnt that coffees here are much smaller (and stronger) that what I’m used to back home. I like that you always get a sweet or a cookie with your coffee.

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An unexpected musical treat in Montmartre

You know you’ve arrived at Montmartre when you start climbing the steps that culminate in the beautiful Basilica of the Sacré Cœur. When the three of us finally arrived at the top we needed a moment to catch our breath before we were able to start exploring this vibrant hilltop district of the artists. While this was happening, one friend was clever enough to notice a band setting up on the last few steps leading up the Sacré Cœur. I’ll be lying if I say that I can remember their name, but they come from the UK and they had a great indie-folk vibe to them. Complete with banjo and double bass. It created the perfect mood for our wanderings and it was such a lovely and unexpected treat, especially considering the view. Definitely my highlight of Montmartre.

montmarte paris

montmarte paris

montmarte paris

montmarte paris

montmarte paris

Le Marais district after dark

Le Marais is a historic district in Paris. It has more pre-revolutionary buildings and streets left intact than any other area in Paris and the architecture transport you back to Medieval times. The cobblestoned streets wind their way in between Jewish bakeries, cosy tea rooms, trendy fashion stores and classy restaurants. But you don’t need to go there and spend all your money – although it’s very tempting. You can simply go for a walk, perhaps finishing off with a cup of tea or a pastry. Me and my friends had a wonderful amble along the streets, peeping into the shop windows and eyeing all the delicious treats on display. The evening lighting compliments the buildings beautifully and I loved how everything seems to glow after the sun set but before the skies turned completely black.

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paris

paris

paris

paris

paris

paris

A different view of Paris’s icons

The Notre Dame Cathedral and the Eiffel Tower – two favourite sites in Paris and on the must-see list of many. So why not look at them from a different angle? At the Notre Dame, I stood quite close to the church and aimed the camera up so that the cathedral gets a more powerful feel. The clouds played along nicely that day.

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On a boat cruise down the Seine River we were treated with a great view of the Eiffel Tower. The sun made a starry glare and the flag that’s attached to the boat brought a different element to the image.

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It’s always nice to play around with the composition of a shot and, seeing as I recently got my new camera, I’m loving it.